Odeon Cinema, Manchester

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Odeon Cinema, Manchester

Odeon Cinema, Manchester.jpg

Odeon Cinema in 2009
General information
Type Cinema
Location Manchester, England
Coordinates 53°28′37.34″N2°14′33.72″W / 53.4770389°N 2.2427000°W / 53.4770389; -2.2427000 Coordinates: 53°28′37.34″N2°14′33.72″W / 53.4770389°N 2.2427000°W / 53.4770389; -2.2427000
Opening October 1930
Design and construction
Developer F. Verity and S. Beverley

The Odeon Cinema, Manchester (originally known as the Paramount Theatre or the Paramount Cinema) was a former Odeon Cinema located on Oxford Street, Manchester, England. It was close to St. Peter’s Square, within the Civic Quarter of Manchester city centre. It was demolished in April 2017, to be replaced by Landmark, a 14-storey office building, as part of a major transformation of the area.

Odeon, sometimes stylised as ODEON, is a cinema brand name operating in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Norway, which along with UCI Cinemas and Nordic Cinema Group is part of the Odeon Cinemas Group subsidiary of AMC Theatres. It uses the famous name of the Odeon cinema circuit first introduced in Britain in 1930.

Wilmslow Road major road in Manchester, England

Wilmslow Road is a major road in Manchester, England, running from Parrs Wood northwards to Rusholme. There it becomes Oxford Road and the name changes again to Oxford Street when it crosses the River Medlock and reaches the city centre.

Manchester City and metropolitan borough in England

Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, with a population of 545,500 as of 2017. It lies within the United Kingdom's second-most populous built-up area, with a population of 3.2 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority is Manchester City Council.


Pre 1930

The location of the theatre had originally been developed towards the end of the 18th century; by the 1930s the site had been fully developed, featuring a mix of commercial and residential properties. By the start of the 20th century, the site was used entirely for commercial purposes, and it featured two pubs. The site was cleared by 1930 for the construction of the Paramount Theatre. [1]


The Paramount Theatre on Oxford Street, Manchester, opened on 6 October 1930, [2] showing The Love Parade , and featuring a variety show on stage. [3] The theatre was built for the Paramount Film Company of America, and was designed by Frank Verity and S. Beverley (now known as Verity & Beverley [3] ), who had also built the Plaza Theatre in London. [4] It was one of 50 proposed Paramount Theatres, [5] and was one of the first open, and the first in the UK to bear the company's name; [6] others included Paramount Leeds, Paramount Newcastle upon Tyne, Paramount Glasgow, Paramount Liverpool, Paramount Birmingham and Paramount, Tottenham Court Road, London. [3]

<i>The Love Parade</i> 1929 film by Ernst Lubitsch

The Love Parade is a 1929 American pre-Code musical comedy film, directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, involving the marital difficulties of Queen Louise of Sylvania (MacDonald) and her consort, Count Alfred Renard (Chevalier). Despite his love for Louise and his promise to be an obedient husband, Count Alfred finds his role as a figurehead unbearable. The supporting cast features Lupino Lane, Lillian Roth and Eugene Pallette.

Variety shows, also known as variety arts or variety entertainment, is entertainment made up of a variety of acts including musical performances, sketch comedy, magic, acrobatics, juggling, and ventriloquism. It is normally introduced by a compère or host. The variety format made its way from Victorian era stage to radio and then television. Variety shows were a staple of anglophone television from the late 1940s into the 1980s.

Frank Verity English architect

Francis Thomas Verity (1864–1937) was an English cinema architect during the cinema building boom of the years following World War I.

A single-screen cinema, [6] it was capable of seating 2,920 people on two levels (the Stalls and the Balcony), and the building also contained a fully equipped stage, a fly tower, dressing rooms, an orchestra pit, an organ [4] and a cafe. [3] The cinema was designed to operate in the cine-variety era; it was mostly used to show films [4] (such as those featuring Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald [2] ) but it also put on live stage shows (including those by Francis A Mangan, which were accompanied by a full orchestra). [7] It was purchased in November 1939 by Oscar Deutsch as part of the Odeon Theatres Ltd, and was renamed as the Odeon in 1940. [3] It became a Rank cinema in 1941. Its piano lounge subsequently hosted Bruce Forsyth among others. [2]

Orchestra pit

An orchestra pit is the area in a theater in which musicians perform. Orchestral pits are utilized in forms of theatre that require music or in cases when incidental music is required. The conductor is typically positioned at the front of the orchestral pit facing the stage.

Maurice Chevalier French actor, singer and entertainer

Maurice Auguste Chevalier was a French actor, cabaret singer and entertainer. He is perhaps best known for his signature songs, including his first American hit "Livin' In The Sunlight", "Valentine", "Louise", "Mimi", and "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" and for his films, including The Love Parade, The Big Pond and Love Me Tonight. His trademark attire was a boater hat, which he always wore on stage with a tuxedo.

Jeanette MacDonald American singer and actress

Jeanette Anna MacDonald was an American singer and actress best remembered for her musical films of the 1930s with Maurice Chevalier and Nelson Eddy. During the 1930s and 1940s she starred in 29 feature films, four nominated for Best Picture Oscars, and recorded extensively, earning three gold records. She later appeared in opera, concerts, radio, and television. MacDonald was one of the most influential sopranos of the 20th century, introducing opera to film-going audiences and inspiring a generation of singers.

The building featured a stone-faced façe with four bays, and a full-width canopy, both facing Oxford Street. The cinema had three levels, one of which is a mezzanine. The foyers and auditorium were decorated in a Baroque style; the building also had a large rounded proscenium and an illustration of the sky on the ceiling. [7]

Canopy (building) structure providing shade or shelter

A canopy is an overhead roof or else a structure over which a fabric or metal covering is attached, able to provide shade or shelter from weather conditions such as sun, hail, snow and rain. A canopy can also be a tent, generally without a floor. The word comes from the Ancient Greek κωνώπειον, from κώνωψ, which is a bahuvrihi compound meaning "mosquito". The first 'o' changing into 'a' may be due to influence from the place name Canopus, Egypt thought of as a place of luxuries.

Mezzanine intermediate floor between main floors of a building

A mezzanine is, strictly speaking, an intermediate floor in a building which is partly open to the double-height ceilinged floor below, or which does not extend over the whole floorspace of the building. However, the term is often used loosely for the floor above the ground floor, especially where a very high original ground floor has been split horizontally into two floors.

Baroque cultural movement, starting around 1600

The Baroque is a highly ornate and often extravagant style of architecture, music, dance painting, sculpture and other arts that flourished in Europe from the early 17th until the mid-18th century. It followed the Renaissance style and preceded the Rococo and Neoclassical styles. It was encouraged by the Catholic Church as a means to counter the simplicity and austerity of Protestant architecture, art and music, though Lutheran Baroque art developed in parts of Europe as well. The Baroque style used contrast, movement, exuberant detail, deep colour, grandeur and surprise to achieve a sense of awe. The style began at the start of the 17th century in Rome, then spread rapidly to France, northern Italy, Spain and Portugal, then to Austria and southern Germany. By the 1730s, it had evolved into an even more flamboyant style, called rocaille or Rococo, which appeared in France and central Europe until the mid to late 18th century.

The theatre was divided in 1973 [3] to become a twin screen cinema, at which time the organ was removed. It gained a third screen in 1979, and four more screens were added in 1992 using the basement and stage areas; [4] it opened as a seven-screen cinema on 8 May 1992. [8] The cinema had a private car park with a small number of parking spaces to the rear. [1] In 1992, it hosted the premiere of A Few Good Men . [2]

<i>A Few Good Men</i> 1992 film directed by Rob Reiner

A Few Good Men is a 1992 American legal drama film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, and Demi Moore, with Kevin Bacon, Kevin Pollak, Wolfgang Bodison, James Marshall, J. T. Walsh, and Kiefer Sutherland in supporting roles. It was adapted for the screen by Aaron Sorkin from his play of the same name but includes contributions by William Goldman. The film revolves around the court-martial of two U.S. Marines charged with the murder of a fellow Marine and the tribulations of their lawyers as they prepare a case to defend their clients.

The theatre originally had a Wurlitzer Publix One theatre organ [4] with 4 manuals and 20 ranks of pipes, specified by Jesse Crawford. It was planned to install one of these in each of the 50 Paramount theatres, however this was the only one to be installed, and the only one of that model to leave the United States. When the theatre was divided, the organ was acquired by the Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust, loaned to the City of Manchester and relocated to the Free Trade Hall (a process taking four years); and was first used there in September 1977. When the Free Trade Hall closed, it was subsequently moved to the Stockport Town Hall's Great Hall. [5]

The cinema closed in September 2004 after 74 years in use, [9] due to competition from the AMC Great Northern. [3] After its closure, it was occasionally used as a church. [9]

In 1999, the building was considered for listed building status as part of a thematic survey of cinemas, however it was rejected as too many of the original features had been removed. [1] When the cinema closed in 2004, the orchestra pit, stage, proscenium, ceiling and foyer areas were still partly intact (although hidden), and could be restored. [4] [7] It was thought to be the oldest cinema in Manchester's city centre. [2] However, an additional assessment in February 2007 also rejected listing the building; [1] English Heritage explained that this was due to the extensive removal of its original features and the extensive interior damage to the building. It was claimed that this damage had been "systematic and methodical", although the current owners stated that they had only carried out "limited and entirely lawful exposure works". [10] It was certified as being immune from listing on 25 July 2007 (renewed 28 November 2012). [1] Permission to demolish the building was given in September 2016. [6] The building was demolished in April 2017. [11]

Office building

The site of the cinema after demolition At Manchester 2018 066.jpg
The site of the cinema after demolition

The cinema is scheduled to be replaced with an office building named Landmark, matching the adjacent One St Peter's Square. [12] The building will have 22,575 square metres (243,000 sq ft) of office floor space over 14 storeys, as well as a three-level 116-space basement car park, in a 0.18 hectare site. [1] It is being developed by Hines UK Limited and Manchester & Metropolitan Properties Limited, and designed by Squire and Partners. [12]

Planning permission was originally obtained on 15 February 2007, [1] and was due to be completed in 2009. At the time, the building aimed to hold 2,000 workers, and would cost £45 million. [9] The permission was extended in September 2010. [1] and renewed in August 2013, with some tweaks to meet BREEAM 'excellent' standards. [12] Construction is not planned to start until market conditions are suitable [13] – in particular, until pre-let deals have been arranged with the first occupiers. [12]

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  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "Historic Odeon faces final curtain". Manchester Evening News. 15 February 2007. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Odeon Manchester". Cinema Treasures. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "The Odeon Cinema, Oxford Street, Manchester" . Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  5. 1 2 "The Stockport Publix One Wurlitze r". The Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust. Archived from the original on 23 October 2014.
  6. 1 2 3 "The landmark Odeon cinema on Oxford Street is going to be demolished to build new offices". Manchester Evening News. 4 November 2016.
  7. 1 2 3 "Odeon (Paramount) (Manchester)" . Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  8. "Manchester Odeon 7 screens" . Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  9. 1 2 3 "Odeon makes way for £45m offices". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 15 February 2007.
  10. "Final curtain falls on Odeon". Manchester Evening News. 10 May 2007. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  11. Butler, Katie (7 April 2017). "The Odeon on Oxford Street has been demolished". men.
  12. 1 2 3 4 "Hines refreshes Landmark consent". 20 August 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  13. "Hines Secures Manchester Debut With Joint Venture Development". April 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2014.